Apr 21, 2017 01:59 PM EDT
Accretion disks, which is also known as circumstellar disks, was seen and captured by researchers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile. The researchers then noted that the accretion disk that they saw was being eaten by its central point, a young star.
According to WDEF, accretion disks are usually made up of space dust and clouds of gas that surrounds a central core. In the image, the accretion disk rotates inward a young star deeply buried in the Orion Nebula. The dusty disk was then dubbed as the “space hamburger” due to its shape.
The findings published in the journal Science Advances last April 19 also noted that the star being surrounded by the accretion disk is already 40,000 years old. Study lead author Chin-Fei Lee, a researcher at the Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics in Taiwan stated that they are still amazed at the details of the image that they had captured.
The accretion disk was then named as HH212, a star system with the distance of 1,300 light years away from Earth. The disk was also mentioned to be “nearly edge-on” and with a radius of about 60 AUs (astronomical unit). "It shows a prominent equatorial dark lane sandwiched between two brighter features, due to relatively low temperature and high optical depth near the disk midplane," Lee and his colleagues stated in the study.
The research team also added that the dark lane at submillimeter wavelength detailed in the image that produced a “hamburger-shaped” appearance was the first time they had seen it. Lee also stated that the discovery and study of the accretion disk were made possible through the full usage of ALMA’s power which is now at a resolution of eight AU, which is 25 times higher per Global Times.
More so, not only did they captured the accretion disk image, but they also managed to study its vertical structure in full detail as well. “However, we do expect to see more of this toward the younger (Class 0) protostars, because we can resolve more and more edge-on disks now with ALMA,” Lee concluded pointing at the thought of not all accretion disks look like hamburgers.